Anna’s hummingbird Pic taken this past week in back yard, near Rutledge Park, Saanich. Canon EOS T6i, 55-250mm telephoto/ Michael J. Trottier

Songbirds return to their roost in the West Shore

Tips, such as keeping roaming cats from ruffling any feathers, can attract more birds

Swallows, hummingbirds, sparrows and warblers – as spring is in bloom, many songbirds from further south will flock the West Shore.

Naturalists in the area can attract birds to their backyards and keep them safe at this crucial period in their life, the vice president of Rocky Point Bird Observatory said.

“What you plant, having water structures” and keeping roaming cats from ruffling any feathers can attract more backyard birds, Ann Nightingale said.

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For instance, planting the native red flowering currants in the West Shore and along the Oak Bay waterfront encourages the presence of rufous hummingbirds, one of the most abundant bird species migrating to the region during this time of year, she said.

“Native plants, especially, are good for native birds.”

Brightly colored flowers, such as fuschia, attract birds, as do Mountain Ash trees and “anything that bears fruit and seeds,” Nightingale said.

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Oftentimes, she added, backyard birds return home from their long journeys to their preferred roost.

Nightingale noted one hummingbird that was tagged had been found returning from Mexico to the same backyard eight years later. “Ones that are in your backyard, come back to your backyard.”

This time of year is “sensitive” for migrating birdlife, she said. That’s why, she added, keeping roaming cats under control is crucial.

“If a cat catches a bird right now, it’s probably dooming a nest.”

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Nightingale will be sharing tips on identifying and attracting the region’s backyard birds and sharing pictures of rare and common ones at a talk during View Royal Garden Club’s general meeting Wednesday, May 22. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. at Esquimalt United Church, on 500 Admirals Rd.



swikar.oli@goldstreamgazette.com

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